Elfrid Payton
Elfrid Payton
25-Year-Old GuardG
New York Knicks
2019 Fantasy Outlook
After spending 31 of the first 36 games of the 2018-19 season on the sideline with a sprained ankle, Payton went on to produce solid all-around numbers in 42 appearances with the Pelicans. The 24-year-old point guard started every game he played in New Orleans, averaging 10.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and a career-high 7.6 assists across 29.8 minutes per game. He also had a stretch in February where he recorded five straight triple-doubles. Now, Payton enters a situation in New York with a backcourt filled with young talent, including the likes of Dennis Smith, Kadeem Allen, Frank Ntilikina, Allonzo Trier and rookie R.J. Barrett, all of whom could serve as the team's primary ball-handler. With that, it's unclear exactly where Payton will fit into the rotation, especially since the Knicks acquired Dennis Smith as their apparent point guard of the future in the Kristaps Prozingis trade last season. However, given their free agent signings this offseason, it's clear the Knicks are looking to put a more competitive product on the court this season, and with Payton's production last season and his existing chemistry with Julius Randle from their time in New Orleans, the point guard could have a leg-up on the competition in the early goings of the season. The biggest issue for Payton remains his ineffective shooting ability, as he shot just 31.4 percent from behind the arc and 43.4 percent from the field overall last season. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a two-year, $16 million contract with the Knicks in July of 2019. Contract includes $8.2 million team option for 2020-21.
Agrees to deal with Knicks
GNew York Knicks
July 1, 2019
Payton and the Knicks have agreed to a two-year, $16 million contract, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports.
Payton becomes the fifth veteran to sign a two-year deal with the Knicks, who are apparently intent on putting a better product on the court this season. Payton is an interesting fit after stops with Orlando, Phoenix and New Orleans, but it's unclear how he'll fit with Dennis Smith, Jr. and No. 3 overall pick RJ Barrett.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
A disrupted 2017-18 season meant Payton found it difficult to find any rhythm. A hamstring injury cost him almost 20 games early in the season and after making his return in Orlando, he was shipped off to Phoenix for minimal return. He was excellent through his first few games before essentially falling out of the rotation for a team that had clearly shifted toward tanking. After losing Rajon Rondo to the Lakers, the Pelicans decided Payton was worth a look, and there's a good chance he'll claim the starting point guard spot. The Louisiana native has a unique skillset for a guard, offering decent out-of-position numbers on the glass, as well as strong assists and defensive stats. However, Payton does not possess a strong perimeter game and is a sub-30 percent three-point shooter for his career. Even so, Payton has managed to maintain an efficient mark from the field, overall (45.7% career FG). A fresh start and the potential to battle for a spot in the first unit could result in an uptick in production. That said, Payton begins his tenure in New Orleans with plenty to prove after failing to live up to his billing in Orlando as a top-10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
The 2017-18 campaign will be Payton’s fourth year in the league. While he arguably hasn’t played up to his 10th overall pick expectations, he’s been steadily improving since he first took the floor back in 2014. For example, over the past two seasons, Payton has improved his true shooting percentage and assist rate while dropping his turnover rate, despite seeing an increased usage rate – a difficult task to accomplish. He saw fluctuating roles last season, largely as a result of coach Frank Vogel tweaking his starting five due the team’s overall struggles, but posted 12.8 points, 6.5 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 steals across 29.4 minutes per game. He also shot a career-high 47.1 percent from the field, but remains a non-factor from beyond the arc, hitting just 0.5 threes per game at a 27.4 percent clip. Maybe most notably, however, especially for those who play DFS, was Payton’s stat sheet stuffing in March and beyond. In the final 22 games of the season, he dropped five triple-doubles while averaging 13.6 points, 8.6 assists, 7.1 rebounds and 1.0 steal across 30.5 minutes while shooting 51.2 percent from the field. With the Magic doing very little to bolster the point guard slot for the upcoming season – retaining D.J. Augustin and signing Shelvin Mack – Payton looks to be in line for a similar role. Assuming he continues improving, albeit subtly, Payton could end up being a top-15 Fantasy point guard considering his proficiency in passing and rebounding while providing fair value as a scorer and defender.
Though he boosted his all-around numbers from his rookie season, Payton didn't exhibit the exponential growth some were anticipating in his second NBA season. Injury problems may have been a major reason why, as Payton was limited by an ankle sprain in the preseason and ended up sitting out nine games during the regular season with a bone bruise on his ankle and a strained elbow. Though nine missed games won't derail a season, it was uncharted territory nonetheless for Payton, who played in all 82 contests as a rookie and said he hadn't missed a single competitive game dating back to middle school. Despite the setback, Payton was able to end the second half on a high note, finishing the campaign with improvements in his field-goal (42.5% in 2014-15, 43.6% in 2015-16), free-throw (55.1%, 58.9%) and three-point (26.2%, 32.6%), percentages from the year before. That being said, those shooting marks are still quite ugly by point guard standards and really hurt Payton's value in rotisserie leagues, where benching him was often justified. Even with some further improvement in his shooting during the upcoming season, Payton is still a toxic entity in those formats, but he'll carry plenty of appeal in points leagues. With averages of 6.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season and three career triple-doubles under his belt, the 22-year-old has already has shown promise in the secondary categories, and he should assume more scoring responsibilities with Victor Oladipo no longer a part of the Magic's backcourt mix after getting traded to the Thunder in June.
Payton was one of 27 players to suit up for all 82 games last season. He began the year as the Magic's starting point guard due to Victor Oladipo's facial fracture, was later replaced in the starting lineup when Oladipo returned, but by late December, Payton reclaimed the starting gig permanently. In 30 minutes per contest, the 21-year-old point guard recorded 8.9 points, 6.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals while shooting 43 percent from the field and a dismal 55 percent from the free-throw line. Not only does Payton struggle finishing at the rim, converting a league-worst 49 percent in the restricted area among those with at least 275 attempts, but his accuracy drastically declines the further he extends from the basket. Defenses routinely sagged off Payton on the perimeter, neutralizing driving lanes and collapsing the paint. Conversely, he recorded a team-high 101.6 offensive rating, rarely turned the ball over, exhibits tenacious defensive wherewithal, and cleaned up his free-throw percentage at the end of the season by converting 73 percent over the final 14 games. Payton spent the summer working with shooting coach Dave Love, and he's expected to retain the starting point guard job under new coach Scott Skiles.
Elfrid Payton joins the league after being the 10th selection in June's NBA draft. During his final season at Louisiana-Lafayette, the junior guard averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 assists, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 36 minutes per game over the course of 35 games. The Lefty Driesell Award winner (Defensive POY) shot 51 percent from the field on 13.3 field goal attempts per game and 61 percent from the line on 8.6 free throw attempts per game. He was second in all of Division I basketball in free-throw attempts (302), assists (208), and steals (80). More egregiously, he led the NCAA in turnovers (127) and was only able to convert 26 percent of his three-point attempts. Jameer Nelson, E'Twaun Moore, and Ronnie Price are no longer on the roster, but Luke Ridnour was signed in free agency, and all signs point toward Payton accruing substantial minutes as the one of the primary Magic point guards. Payton lead the Orlando Pro Summer League with an impressive 7.0 assists in just under 26 minutes per game but also finished first in turnovers (4.0 per game). His quickness allows him to get to the rim with ease, a tactic likely aided by the Channing Frye signing. Payton and his percentages aren't rotisserie friendly. There a lot of holes in the rookie's game, but he has tantalizing potential, especially for head-to-head leagues. Payton has a slender frame, is ineffective catching and shooting the ball, and lacks an off-the-dribble jumper. His shooting woes also work against him at the free-throw line, making him a dangerous play in nine-category rotisserie leagues.
More Fantasy News
Steps up late in win
GNew Orleans Pelicans
April 8, 2019
Payton tallied 26 points (10-19 FG, 2-7 3Pt, 4-5 FT), 14 assists, six rebounds, three blocks and one steal across 39 minutes in the Pelicans' 133-129 win over the Kings on Sunday.
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Double-doubles in OT loss
GNew Orleans Pelicans
April 6, 2019
Payton contributed 14 points (6-14 FG, 2-3 3Pt), 12 assists, five rebounds and two steals across 43 minutes in the Pelicans' 133-126 overtime loss to the Suns on Friday.
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Scores 16 points Thursday
GNew Orleans Pelicans
March 28, 2019
Payton ended with 16 points (7-14 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 2-2 FT), nine assists, four rebounds, and one block in 36 minutes during Thursday's 121-118 victory over the Kings.
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Will play Thursday
GNew Orleans Pelicans
March 28, 2019
Payton (wrist) will play Thursday against the Kings.
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Tabbed as probable Thursday
GNew Orleans Pelicans
March 27, 2019
Payton is probable for Thursday's matchup against the Kings due to a right wrist contusion.
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